Chevy Volt to hit California showrooms next year

GM said it will expand the Chevy Volt to new markets in coming months. In the meantime, the company will install 500 Volt charging stations for residential, commercial and public use.

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In an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show, GM reps said the Chevy Volt, which can go a reported 300 miles without refueling, will be available in California starting sometime next year. GM expects to announce other markets for the Volt in coming weeks.

"We have significantly expanded our commitment to electrically-driven vehicles at GM, and are now in the midst of an extraordinary transformation," Robert Lutz, the Vice Chairman of Global Product Development at GM, said in a speech at the LA show.

"GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles," Lutz added. "This is a big deal."

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According to the Associated Press, GM will team up with three California utilities as part of a Chevy Volt demonstration project. The project, which will be funded with a $30 million government grant, will distribute 100 Volts and build 500 charging stations for residential, commercial and public use.

The Volt was unveiled in August. Reps said the car, priced at $40,000, would get a fuel-economy of 230 miles-per-gallon, and travel 40 miles on a single battery charge.

“From the data we’ve seen, many Chevy Volt drivers may be able to be in pure electric mode on a daily basis without having to use any gas,” GM Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson said at the time.

Henderson pointed to a recent Department of Transportation study, which showed eight of 10 Americans commute fewer than 40 miles a day.

It didn't take long for the Volt's competitors to fire back. “Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it’ll be affordable too,” the team at Nissan’s electric vehicle team tweeted in August. About an hour later, they added this statement: “To clarify our previous tweet, the DOE formula estimates 367mpg for Nissan LEAF.”

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